Students Elections: Hit- or-Miss Partisanship [Archives:2001/49/Reportage]

December 3 2001

Galal Al-Sharabi
Yemen Times
Students’ elections have concluded. The results were announced and the winner is the free democratic students current. This election included different political parties, including opposition parties such as, Islah, Nasserite, Socialist, and Al-Haq Party. Its political altercations with the opposition parties and the ruling party, the General People’s Conference (GPC), is endless. The GPC considers the elections to be illegal.
The Students Unions in Yemeni universities are considered to be partially paralyzed, particularly when the two ruling parties, the GPC and Islah party, have witnessed a joint sharing.
The Media Representative at the Preparatory Committee, Ali Al-Jaradi, said to YT that the elections exist in order to discourage the students’ movement at the university. He further added that the GPC has no intention at all to return to the practice of syndicating work, particularly at Yemeni universities. The GPC has not been able to exercise counterfeiting in the students’ election or possessing the voting boxes as it has formerly done.
In addition, the mutual approach between the Islah Party and the Opposition Coordination Council has the effect of creating political pressure against the ruling party when both of the two ruling parties coordinated against the opposition parties during 1997 elections.
The elections, which have been conducted at Yemeni universities and colleges have had their ups and downs in some cities of the Republic. In Hodiedah, for example, several students were injured and others arrested, while similar incidents simultaneously occurred in Hajah and Dhamar. In Aden, on the other hand, there was in total incapacitation when both the security and the college dean were in favor of the ruling party. A few days ago, meetings were held at the students’ high bodies in the ruling party in order to discuss students’ elections, particularly the elections which took place in 1997 in which the Islah got the majority at all the different universities of the Republic.
In spite of the Ministry of Social Affairs’ refrainment from providing financial support to the Unified Union during the previous phase, Islah has continued to provide the continuous support to its union after the GPC refrained from providing such an election and diverged to the so-called Yemen Student’s Union.
Therefore, the Opposition Coordination Council has remained perplexed as usual, not knowing whether to support or to boycott the elections, and at last, the opposition participated in the election together with the Islah party. Up to this moment, the final results of the election have not yet been announced, but the indications pointed out that there will be three against three election seats. The coming phase will witness the total readiness of the GPC, but the difficulties stand as a barrier and the matter is not easy. Universities refuse to hold such activities on their campuses, and the security bodies and the social affairs bet on loss of the elections. It is clear that the ruling party is doing its best to regain the reputation it had before. While there have been several delays in the election, it has had its ups and downs with regard to the two ruling parties.